Takeout after the race. Photo: WeStroke

To many paddlers, creek racing is a world of steep class V whitewater, giant holes, dangerous sieves and the best kayakers in the world vying for the top dog title. In the last year, though, a movement has been sweeping across the United States, bringing creek races to the local level and inviting paddlers of all abilities to the regions' favorite paddling spots. One such example is the Plateau Creek Race Series in middle Tennessee.

Last Saturday, a dozen local Tennessee paddlers gathered under blue skies and warm weather to compete in one of the Cumberland Plateau's jewel rivers, the Big South Fork. The race concluded the Plateau Creek Race Series, which was started to introduce new paddlers to the sport of creek racing in the Southeast.

"The series was a whole lot of fun and, I think, a success," Kevin Todd, cofounder of WeStroke.com, said. "We feel really fortunate to be part of something like this and to help foster even greater enthusiasm in such a great sport." The Big South Fork Race demonstrated the progression of the athletes over the course of the series and was the result of collaboration among different organizations and volunteer groups. World Kayak is a group of volunteer boaters that are working together to enhance their boating communities. WeStroke is a website offering original content reviews and an aggregator of paddlesport videos, river information, event info, etc.

This may be end of the Creek races, but it is not the end of the events for the Tennessee region. "The Rock Island Open at Rock Island State Park is coming, and it is going to be awesome," Todd said. There will also be another Boater X race. Then on May 11th there will be a freestyle and down river freestyle competition.”

The series was based on a point system, each paddler accruing points per placement from the individual races. The points were added up, and an overall winner selected based on the highest points earned.

Series Results:
1. Jason Crummer—520pts and the overall winner.
2. Ian Stewart—500pts
2. Ben Ghertner—500pts
3. Will Enochs—420pts
4. Jeff Leach—310pts
5. David Stenson—300pts
6. Mikel Carr—190pts
7. Trent Thibideaux—180pts
8. Mitch Groothus—160pts
8. Chelsey Poole—160pts
9. David Schumacher—150pts
10. Chris Gibson—140pts
10. David Evans—140pts
10. Jordan Greene—140pts
11. Philip Byard—130pts
11. Rami Ayoub—130 pts
12. Neil Arvidson—120pts
12. Don Herbert—120pts
13. Crystal Sunshine—110pts
13. Sam Gaylord—110pts
14. Mike Arvidson – 100pts

Long Boat Results
1. Jim Enochs—300pts
2. William Taylor—140pts
2. Mark Kennell—140pts
3. Bill Taylor—110pts
3. Brandon Voto—110pts

Big South Fork Race. Photo: WeStroke